When God moves upon a generation, divisions dissolve. Denominations become irrelevant. All that matters is: Do you know Jesus? Jesus is the central figure in the church, and, indeed, in all of human history. We measure the date by when Jesus was here. Nor is Jesus the sole possession of any particular group. No one has an inside track on Jesus. Jesus comes to us by way of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, which is how you know if you have the right Jesus.
“How do I know you’re telling me the truth?” my wife, Marti, asked a pastor in his office shortly after she became a Christian at the beginning of the last Jesus Movement. “You don’t,” was his surprisingly smart answer. Many pastors would answer that question in a way that would support themselves as a reliable source of truth. He was willing to cast doubt even upon himself for the greater good of building her own confidence in recognizing the truth. He was purposely throwing the burden of proof onto her. She was going to have to study and come up with her own answers. So he recommended interpretational tools for her own Bible study and taught her how to use them. He was a discipler, not an insecure leader bent on keeping his own job by making people depend on him
The same thing will be necessary now as we approach a new Jesus Movement. Many will become unified under one Jesus, but what will it take to make sure we have the right one? It will take an understanding of how to study the scriptures, a good working knowledge of the Jesus of the gospels and a familiarity with how to discern the influence of the Holy Spirt on one’s heart and life.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This is the goal for all of us as disciples. We need to know how to do our own work. Too many Christians take what the pastor says or what the book they got at the Christian bookstore teaches, without putting it to the test of their own knowledge of God and the scriptures. Learn to take your own word for it not someone else’s.
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him” (1 John 2:27).
Love gorgeous Marti’s old Pastor! My first one said more or least the same, and the Church’s name is Berean as in the book of Acts the Beran’s searched the Scriptures!.
I once had an argument with another Christian and I kept supporting my stance with various quotes from the Bible. Finally he got frustrated with my repeatedly saying, “But the Bible says…” and replied, “I don’t care what the Bible says! Pastor So-and-so says this!” That’s putting your faith in man and not in Jesus or the Word. Fine the right Jesus and the right Word and get familiar!